Cham­pi­onship would cap off ex­tra­or­di­nary year

Townsville Bulletin - - Football -

HE is the A-League’s an­swer to Wayne Bennett and Mick Malt­house.

But, un­like his dead-pan coun­ter­parts, Bris­bane Roar mas­ter coach Ange Postecoglou is not afraid to talk things up ahead of his side’s cham­pi­onship de­cider against Cen­tral Coast Mariners at Sun­corp Sta­dium on Sun­day.

Postecoglou is poised to join elite com­pany and clinch his fifth over­all foot­ball pre­mier­ship – af­ter two as a player and an­other two as a coach at his beloved South Mel­bourne.

But surely vic­tory this week­end would eclipse any­thing he has achieved to date.

A cham­pi­onship must have seemed an eter­nity away when Postecoglou took over mid-last sea­son at the p e r e nni a l un­der­achiev­ers a f t e r Frank Fa­rina was sacked for a drinkdriv­ing of­fence.

Yet Postecoglou is in sight of a maiden A-League ti­tle for the Roar af­ter a record 27-game un­beaten run.

De­spite earn­ing the rep­u­ta­tion as the A-League’s Ebenezer Scrooge, Postecoglou couldn’t be more ex­cited ahead of this week­end.

‘‘ I am not a fan of keep­ing a lid on things,’’ Postecoglou said. ‘‘ This is my 25th year ( in foot­ball) and this is my fifth ( grand fi­nal) – that’s how ( of­ten) they come along. I think some­times if you try and keep a lid on things then you miss out on a great op­por­tu­nity and the chance to miss out on some­thing spe­cial.’’

Asked about com­par­isons with Bennett and Malt­house, Postecoglou said: ‘‘ I am nowhere near that cat­e­gory but I am proud of the record that I have – four out of four ( foot­ball fi­nals) so far.

‘‘ I would love to make it five out of five. It’s not why I got into the game but that’s the ultimate re­ward.

‘‘ A cham­pi­onship would cap off an ex­tra­or­di­nary year.

‘‘ I think peo­ple will see this as a land­mark year for the club and think for foot­ball in Aus­tralia.’’

Postecoglou al­ready has some re­ward af­ter res­ur­rect­ing a side that fin­ished sec­ond-last in 2009-10.

The reign­ing A-League coach of the year is hardly sat­is­fied, par­tic­u­larly against a Cen­tral Coast out­fit that claimed a ‘‘ psy­cho­log­i­cal win’’ fol­low­ing the Roar’s 4-2 ag­gre­gate semi­fi­nal win over the Mariners.

‘‘ It will start as 0-0 and I think that will help us be­cause I think in the semis we went into that with a bit of a neg­a­tive mind­set, try­ing to pro­tect a 2-0 lead ( from the first leg) rather than play our usual game.’’

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